Gov. Evers announces restrictions on child care settings during outbreak

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has announced restrictions on the number of people who can be in a child care setting in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time," the governor announced Wednesday.

This goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 19.

Confirmed cases in Wisconsin topped 100 Wednesday.

Evers has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance for small businesses in Wisconsin and private non-profits who are reeling from the effects of coronavirus closures.

CLICK HERE to view the request.

“Social distancing and self-isolation are critical steps in reducing and preventing the spread of this virus in our communities, but it comes at an economic cost to our local businesses,” said Gov. Evers. “The loan assistance from SBA will help alleviate some of the financial burden and stress on our small businesses during this public health crisis. We will continue to work with our federal partners, state officials, and stakeholders to ensure we are improving public safety and health while protecting our state economy.”

Evers is expected to issue an executive order Wednesday to speed up unemployment benefits as businesses are forced to cut back or close down.

"Gov. Evers is working with the Wisconsin State Legislature to quickly act to waive the one-week waiting period for benefits so that much-needed unemployment insurance funds make it to affected workers quickly," reads a statement from the Department of Workforce Development.

The order would "waive the requirement that UI claimants conduct at least four weekly work search actions during the COVID-19 emergency. His order will also ensure that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are considered available for work and therefore eligible for benefits."

On Tuesday, the governor ordered a ban on all gatherings of 10 people or more in the state. That means bars and restaurants cannot offer seating to the public and no one can eat or drink inside. They can offer take-out or delivery.

CLICK HERE to view the governor's order.

CLICK HERE for a list of Green Bay area restaurants and bars offering takeout and delivery.

Schools are closed indefinitely.

On Wednesday, Brown County announced its first confirmed case of the virus. Health officials say the patient had traveled domestically.

Kim Mueller, Fond du Lac County Health Officer, announced Tuesday afternoon that they have received more testing results, and one of the 59 tests came back positive, while the other 58 came back negative.

Mueller says the total active cases for Fond du Lac County is now at 12, and added staff are actively working on contacting anyone with exposure to the new positive case.

Gov. Evers says there is evidence of community spread in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha Counties. That means health officials can't trace the origin of the exposure.

CLICK HERE to watch the news conference on YouTube.

"We are seeing community spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. This means that there are people who have tested positive who have no exposures to a known case nor did they travel to a location where there is known community spread," says Gov. Evers. "Today, we have cases in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties indicating that there is community spread happening in Wisconsin. Social distancing will help keep you, your family, and our community from increased risk of exposure. "

BREAKDOWN BY COUNTY

MILWAUKEE COUNTY - 47 (COMMUNITY SPREAD DETECTED)
DANE COUNTY - 23 (COMMUNITY SPREAD DETECTED)
FOND DU LAC COUNTY - 12
WAUKESHA COUNTY - 5
KENOSHA COUNTY - 4 (COMMUNITY SPREAD DETECTED)
SHEBOYGAN COUNTY - 4
WINNEBAGO COUNTY - 3
WASHINGTON COUNTY - 2
BROWN COUNTY - 1
LA CROSSE COUNTY - 1
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY - 1
RACINE COUNTY - 1
WOOD COUNTY - 1

DHS said Wednesday that 1577 tests have come back negative. One person has recovered from coronavirus.

Some patients have been hospitalized. Some are in critical condition. The state is not releasing details on ages or locations of those who are hospitalized.

The governor's ban on gatherings makes exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts.

CLICK HERE to track the outbreak numbers in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene has been "significantly increasing their capacity for COVID-19 testing," according to the governor. However, the number of specimens "far exceeds" the daily capacity at the lab.

Because the lab needs to conserve supplies, they will prioritize testing by two tiers:

TIER ONE

• are critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure

• are hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) and either known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient or travel to an area with sustained community transmission

TIER TWO

• are hospitalized (non-ICU) with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness

• are health care workers with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory illness, regardless of hospitalization

Tests that do not meet the two-tier criteria will be sent to other labs. That means longer wait times for results.

The testing shortage is a nationwide problem, according to DHS. Access to tests and supply chain issues are creating challenges.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Madison has moved to a Level 1 response for the first time in response to a health crisis. The Level 1 designation brings all state agencies together in a central location.

CORONAVIRUS ANSWERS: Dr. Rai on testing, symptoms and how you can help

VISIT wbay.com/coronavirus for complete local, national and international coverage of the outbreak.

Outagamie County was added to the list of counties with confirmed cases Monday.

Winnebago County's number of confirmed cases grew from one to three Monday.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traveled to Fond du Lac County this week to help track the spread of the virus.

Four people who tested positive had traveled on a Egyptian River Cruise.

Fond du Lac County has set up a hotline for coronavirus questions. Call 1-844-225-0147.

THE SPREAD AND PREVENTION

Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with those conditions should take the proper precautions.

COVID-19 is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

"The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes the virus can make them sick," says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CLICK HERE for more information on symptoms. Emergency signs include pain and pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face.

Do not go to the emergency room or clinic looking for a test at this time. Prevea Health President/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai urges people to call their health care professional.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after contact with an infected person.

DHS recommends taking these steps to help stop the spread of the virus:

--Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.
--Covering coughs and sneezes.
--Avoiding touching your face.
--Staying home when sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending everyone in the United States avoid large events and mass gatherings for at least eight weeks.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China. The spread started in December 2019.